For about a month or so I’ve been depressed.
Not “can’t get out bed” depressed, but “I feel blah-sad-annoyed-malaised.”
It took me a bit to recognize it. I tried to explain it away with “I just finished a big launch for my course, I’m just tired” or “I just moved in with my boyfriend, that’s a big transition, I’m just adjusting” and while both of these are true, when I took a hard look it just felt like good ol’ depression.
This isn’t a new experience for me. I pass through here about once or twice a year. And truthfully, I’m starting to emerge.
In this blue fog my inner critic has been particularly harsh when it comes to blogging.
“Don’t even bother, someone else is saying better right now.” it cried.
“Unless you have some earth shattering lesson that will change someone’s life, don’t invade people’s inboxes.” it warned.
I’ve also been so drawn to writings that speak to the mundane rather than the transcendent. I’ve been devouring poems like this one by Martha Postlewaite, entitled “Clearing”:
Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.
I’m simply in love these days with embracing and savoring our smallness as humans. Not that we’re not also big and powerful, but sometimes in reaching for the stars we miss what’s bright and radiant right here. We miss the miracle of stretch denim, and homemade granola gifted by a friend. We miss the one person we helped because we’re reaching for mass impact. We miss the blast-from-the-past radio tune while scanning for the next big hit. We miss the thank you whispered by house plants we’ve kept alive all these years, markers of dark times we walked through in no small part because of a stop to the local garden nursery in search of friend.
All this is to say that my gaze feels focused on the ten feet in front of me and those right around me. This is just fine and if you feel the same, that’s okay.
A lot of what I’ve been finding in these most immediate and everyday moments is oxygen. When you’re blue oxygen can be hard to come by. Your breath is shallow and the windows drawn shut. It’s not a recipe for vitality. So I’ve been seeking, and finding oxygen.
I’ve found it in the meditation of sewing.
Making something with your hands is a natural bypass around the blue fog.
I’ve found it in the rhythm (“stroke, stroke, breath, stroke, stroke, breath”) of lap swimming.
Moving our body moves us up and out of whatever we’re entrenched in.
I’ve found it in aimless coffee shop dates with friends where we talk about spiritual awakening and our love for IKEA in the same minute.
We’re wired for connection, not isolation.
I’ve found it in reading fiction, something I’m not oft to do…
and in fact it is in doing things not in well-worn grooves that has helped to bring me back to life.
I’ve found it in telling the truth. There’s such an exhale in just saying what’s true without apology or qualifiers.
What is, just is, and honoring that is oxygen-rich.
and, as always, I’ve found it in being extraordinarily compassionate with myself. Nothing sucks the oxygen out of the room like self-judgment. And self-compassion, if practiced, after a while, is not so hard. I know that you, over there, are struggling and thriving in your own way so I’m in good company.
My invitation to you today is to find your oxygen. I’m finding mine and it’s making all the difference.